- Category: News
- Published on Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:25
Solicitor Chrissy Adams has released the following statement:
"There has been a great deal of discussion among the citizens of Anderson County concerning the shooting death of Leandus Pickens by Marcus Brown. The ethical boundaries of my position as Solicitor prevent me from commenting on the facts of a pending case, and as such until today we were restricted from providing details of the investigation. As we announce our decision in this case today, however, I believe it is important for the public to have a clear understanding of what the evidence gathered shows and why, based on those facts, the laws of our State dictate that my office not charge Marcus Brown.
"I understand that the family of Leandus Pickens has been frustrated with the length of time required to reach a final charging decision, but it was crucial for this investigation to be as thorough and complete as possible, leaving no room for any remaining questions. Therefore, it is only after the completion of an extensive investigation that the determination has been made that no charges are going to be brought against Marcus Brown.
"Despite Deputy Coroner Don McCown’s initial opinions and speculations as stated in his Coroner’s report, my office, as well as the Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office are now in agreement that the Castle Doctrine applies and bars prosecution in this case.
"The expertise of SLED experts, DNA analysts, fingerprint experts, and other members of law enforcement have all been brought to bear on analyzing the sequence of events that occurred the evening Mr. Pickens died. The early speculation and misinformation reported by the media unfortunately gave the public at large a different version of the events than is supported by the science and facts that are now the realities of this extensive investigation.
"A replica of the window was reconstructed and confirmed by way of reenactment that the entry could have occurred as Mr. Brown reported. Items inside the home of Mr. Brown were printed to determine whether any additional evidence placed Mr. Pickens inside the home prior to the first 911 call by Marcus Brown. No prints belonging to Mr. Pickens were found. The trajectory of the bullet wound to Mr. Pickens is consistent with the statement of facts as was provided by Mr. Brown. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Pickens was ever a welcome guest at the home of Mr. Brown that evening. There are two 911 calls in this case, the first of which is made by Mr. Brown to ask for assistance due to an unwanted individual trying to enter his home. The second of which is notifying the authorities that he, Mr. Brown, has shot someone. Further, a third party statement of a guest at the home that evening corroborates the timeline of the events as reported by Mr. Brown. Toxicology tests performed by SLED revealed no substances in the blood of Mr. Brown in samples taken the night of the incident, but the blood work of Mr. Pickens indicated he had a blood alcohol content of .186 %.
"Our State has a law called the Protection of Persons and Property Act which is commonly referred to as the “Castle Doctrine”. Under this Act an individual who is in their dwelling is presumed to have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury from a person who is forcibly entering their dwelling. That homeowner is justified in using deadly force against the person forcibly entering, and they are immune from criminal prosecution for using that force. Because there is no credible evidence to suggest any other version of events aside from those initially reported by Mr. Brown, wherein Mr. Pickens was forcibly entering his home, my office, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Coroner’s Office are in agreement that Mr. Brown is immune from prosecution under the laws of our State.
"Any death is tragic, and certainly Mr. Pickens’ loss of life is no exception, however, under the law, there was no criminal action on the part of Mr. Brown relating to this shooting death."
Solicitor Chrissy Adams
- Category: News
- Published on Thursday, 17 September 2015 17:15
(Anderson, SC). The final defendant in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of C. J. Patel of Anderson, Zachary Gantt, was sentenced today in Anderson General Sessions Court. The Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh sentenced Gantt to 22 years on each of 3 charges, Voluntary Manslaughter, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery and 5 years on Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. All sentences are to run concurrently. Gantt had pled guilty in November of 2014 and sentencing was deferred.
Chandrakant (C.J.) Patel was last seen around 6 p.m. on July 1st, 2012, leaving the Exxon station a short distance from I85 on Clemson Boulevard. He and his family managed the station. He told one of the workers he would be back but he never returned. Mr. Patel’s car was found abandoned in Fair Play on July 3rd. His body was found July 11th in a wooded area off U.S. 29 a few miles from the Georgia state line. An investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrest of Jeremiah Johnson, Zachary Gantt, Ezra Williams and Kendra Howell.
- Category: News
- Published on Thursday, 17 September 2015 16:50
(Anderson, SC). Christian Lopez was sentenced today in Anderson General Sessions Court by the Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh for his role in the death of Chunsey Cunningham in October of 2013. The Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh sentenced Lopez to 13 years for Voluntary Manslaughter, 5 years for Criminal Conspiracy and 5 years for Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. All sentences are to run concurrently. Lopez had pled guilty in February of this year but his sentencing was deferred at that time.
In the early morning hours of October 20, 2013, Roger Rowland, Shawn Johnson, and Christian Lopez went to Skateland to meet someone. Conflicting statements were made by the defendants as to the reason for the meeting. Lopez and Rowland got out of the car driven by Michaela Christensen and walked to meet the man who was sitting in a car driven by Chunsey Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham, who had just stepped out of the car and was not the intended target, was shot in the head. He died at the scene. Everyone fled the scene. None of the guns involved in the shooting were ever recovered, thereby preventing any forensic confirmation of the shooter’s identity.
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 16:40
(Walhalla, SC). Roger Qualls pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Involuntary Manslaughter in the death of Kathy Owens. The Honorable Alex Macaulay sentenced him to 5 years suspended to 24 months home incarceration with credit for time served with 5 years of probation to follow with drug testing, counseling, no contact with the victim’s family and restitution for funeral costs for Ms. Owens.
On January 1, 2015, Kathy Owens was driven by a friend to the defendant’s residence to purchase prescription pills. Once at the defendant’s home, the friend stayed in the car while Ms. Owens went into the residence alone. The defendant stated that Ms. Owens wanted to buy pills from him. During the course of their conversation, she also performed oral sex on him. The defendant stated that this had happened before when she wanted pills.
The conversation then turned to a gun that was “pawned” by the victim to the Defendant approximately two weeks prior. The victim told the defendant that she wanted more than the $50 she had received for the gun. Otherwise, she wanted him to buy the gun and give her some pills. Qualls told her that he didn’t have any more money and went to get the gun. The Defendant indicated he was giving the gun back and wanted his money back. When the Defendant returned with the gun, the victim told the Defendant to look at the gun because it was worth more than $50. The Defendant stated that as he pulled the gun from the holster, it may have cocked. When he went to hand the gun back to Ms. Owens, he had it pointed in her direction and the gun went off. Qualls stated that the shooting was an accident. The defendant then called his family and soon after called 911. He also went outside and got the victim’s friend, telling him that she was dead. CPR was attempted by the Defendant before officers arrived on the scene.
Based on the Defendant’s statement and during the execution of a search warrant on the residence, a bullet was found lodged in a wall where the defendant had accidentally fired the same weapon approximately two weeks earlier. The investigation revealed that the defendant and the victim not only had a history of drug use together but that they were also friends. At the time of the crime, the Defendant was intoxicated and the victim’s toxicology report indicated the presence of several illegal drugs and prescription medications. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation failed to produce any evidence of a potential motive that would overcome the defendant’s claim of accident. The facts of this case meet the legal elements of the negligence standard of involuntary manslaughter.
“This is a tragic loss for the family and we are aware that they are disappointed by the outcome,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “However, based on the evidence gathered by the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, involuntary manslaughter was the appropriate charge and an appropriate sentence was handed down by the court.”